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Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival Paperback – September 7, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Llumina Press (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595263497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595263490
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Scott LeGear on March 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
Butler Shaffer is a great tower of wonderfulness. Read his archived articles on Lew Rockwell's site. Read this book. I treasure this man.

from page 135: "At no other time in human history have the consequences of our thinking been so immediate and pervasive. If mankind is to survive, you and I will have to take the responsibility for ending our participation in violence. The character of any society can never rise higher than the character of the individuals within it. If our world is disorderly and violent, it is because you and I have learned to be conflict-ridden and aggressive. Institutions are blessed with no mysterious powers that would enable a society to transcend the division, discord and confusion of its members. Only by transforming ourselves can our world become peaceful and orderly. "The task is ours, yours and mine. We have no one else to whom we can turn for salvation. No international organization of nation-states can be expected to curb the appetites of its own members. We must save mankind, for we are mankind."

and from page 66: "We are willing to stand and shout for patriotism because we perceive no cost to us in doing so. It does not appear to harm anyone, and brings so much in the way of social returns. We do not see the real and direct connection between our flag-waving and the machine-gunning of children. We believe we can enjoy the benefits of the former without bearing any respoonsibility for the latter.

"Rasism - like any other form of conflict - will come to an end not through moral preachments or appeals to such vague abstractions as brotherhood. It is not bad intentions that keep us apart, but our willingness to live outside ourselves, and to identify with groups.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By libertywatch on October 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Almost everybody agrees that public office attracts some of the most deeply flawed people on the planet, yet amazingly most of us believe that golden results can come from politics. There must be a better way. Fortunately there is and Butler Schaffer has put his finger on it. We should take a clue from people like the Amish who try to have as little to do with the government as possible while relying on the attractiveness of their own organic social institutions to keep their society in order. A truly free Society will generate, for its members, benefits like nothing we've seen yet. The overwhelming majority of people will want to cooperate with their fellow members in order to participate in these benefits. Schaffer makes these points, and more, with simple clarity and style. I really liked this book.

In the 20th Century 200 million people around the globe were killed by governments. Could we really be worse off if we had a lot less Government in our lives?
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeannette on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Calculated Chaos" truly is an unsung gem. Shaffer discusses the dangers and threats to peace, both globally and locally, posed by the various institutionalized authorities, belief systems and entities that now run our lives. He also addresses the counterintuitive mental habits into which we have fallen and the myths we have acquired along the way to our present condition. Specifically, he shatters the deeply-ingrained notion that humans need the state and related institutions in order to maintain a successful, orderly and peaceful society. After all, the state is legitimized through conflict, without which, it would no longer exist. Therefore, it is always in the state's best interest to propagate conflict, regardless of its misleading declared institutional objectives, which are intended to convince us otherwise. As a result of external institutional dominance and conditioning, we have misplaced our ability to understand, direct and take responsibility for ourselves.

In addition to discussing the way we have been conditioned to identify our egos with, and subsequently legitimize, institutions and their respective agendas, Shaffer points out that, whenever we seek to enforce our will or preferences upon others through formalizing and systemizing "beliefs" and unyielding answers to abstractions, the enslavement of either ourselves or others is inevitable, regardless of how noble our objectives may have been initially. It is interesting to note that movements inspired by innate questioning and searching nearly always go awry when they begin to institutionalize formal systems of belief and absolutist thinking.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By PEPPER'S GHOST on June 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
A book of basic common sense, no mystery involved, essential reading for people who are tired of the BS of politics & political writing. A good society starts with a good head.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on July 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book makes a compelling argument that all institutions are the real-world manifestations of our mental "ego boundaries." Hence any allegorical glitch living within the human psyche has a parallel and tangible existence outside the mind and within the institution. The book also describes a few of the mental mechanisms related to "ego boundaries." For example, the book to some extent answers the question of how the transmission of ego boundaries occurs, e.g. projection. (A good projection example being scapegoating...the allusion here being the one where Aaron from the old testament confesses all the sins of Isreal over the head of a ceremonial goat and then sends it into the wilderness)

Though this reader gives few psychological theories much weight (believing nearly none in the realm of scientific knowledge, i.e., the sorts of ideas whose basis can all too easily be refuted), the notion of institutions as manifestations of ego boundaries is something that this reader finds highly probable. It's something that could be well-tested if it hasn't already.

Logically, one could deduce that any brilliant wonder (faith, spirit, etc.) from the human psyche would also have a parallel and tangible life within the institution. This particular author does however argue--more or less--that only an actual relationship could ever manifest something such as faith or spirituallity since institutions are inherently weak no matter how carefully someone orders or improves upon them.

After all, what is an institution? It isn't your mother nor your father nor your brother nor sister, not even your friend. It's not clear that this author believes the following, but it's logical that he should: The institution, if it is to exist and be competitive, must be secondary to relationships. Otherwise, the wonders of the human psyche can never manifest themselves in the real-world and the institutions without the healthy attitudes about relationships will die.
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